It’s no secret that I have been following a vegan lifestyle for almost two years now. I do stray from 100% vegan from time to time (ever since I found out I am Celiac), but in general, I like to stick to a plant-based diet. But sometimes….sometimes I miss my favorite staples from childhood (namely, spaghetti Bolognese).
HOW have I figured out a way to make a dish that is similar (no, not exactly the same) to my father’s Bolognese recipe?
Sprouted Extra-Firm Tofu. Sprouted tofu contains more calcium, iron, and protein than regular tofu. Because it’s sprouted, it also digests easier than unsprouted tofu. The one drawback to sprouted tofu is its fat and caloric content (8g/130 vs 4g/80 for a 3 ounce serving). I say the fat/calorie difference doesn’t make an enormous difference unless you’re trying to lose significant weight. You can also play the “compare and contrast” game with ground beef (around 24g fat per 3 ounces of lean ground beef), and ground turkey (around 11g fat per 3 ounces of lean ground turkey). But let’s play the cholesterol/sodium cards and sprouted tofu wins, no contest!
I make this dish about once a month for Markus and I – and it typically allows for 4-5 hearty servings. We don’t do “normal” serving sizes. We like hearty (where hearty equals about a serving and a half).
The thing I love about this recipe is that the combination of the tofu, broccoli, and shiitake makes for a hearty (there’s that word again!) and “meaty” mouth-feel. Oh, and it tastes SO GOOD.
What you need:
– Whatever pasta you want. Try for one that takes between 6-8 minutes to cook. I chose gluten-free macaroni elbows from Whole Food’s bulk food section.
– 1 pack from a 2-pack of Wildwood® SprouTofu® Organic Extra Firm (7.75 oz of a 15.5oz package) Trader Joe’s also has an organic, sprouted, extra-firm tofu 2-pack that works.
- Drain and wrap tofu with paper towels then press between two plates while you prep everything. For good measure, stack a heavy cook book on top of the top plate for extra pressure. The more you drain, the better the tofu consistency for this recipe.
– 1 crown of broccoli
- Remove florets and roughly chop or tear up until they’re in smaller pieces. Slice the smaller, tender stems and use. You can save and use the large stem in a home-made veggie stock.
– 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
– 4 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin
– 5 or 6 (or more if you like!) fresh shiitake mushrooms (or in a pinch, cremini mushrooms), de-stemmed and sliced
- I like to save and freeze the stems to use in home-made veggie stock.
– 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped oregano
– 2 tablespoons olive oil (or you can use a fresh raw butter if you are vegetarian and like a little extra flavor)
– 3/4 jar of plain, organic marinara sauce (Trader Joe’s has a great one)
– sea salt, red pepper flakes to taste (I use less, you can use more!)
What to do with it:
Put your olive oil or butter into a large pan and heat on medium for 30-60 seconds. Add garlic and onion to the pan and cook until tender/translucent. Add oregano and stir until cooked through. Add broccoli, red bell pepper and mushrooms and cook for about 2-3 minutes (or until the mushrooms look moist and broccoli is a vibrant bright green).
** At this point, you should start boiling water for your pasta**
Remove Tofu from press and remove paper towels. Blot and gently squeeze any extra moisture from the block. Crumble the tofu into the pan with the broccoli, onion, mushroom, and garlic. The tofu should look like feta crumbles. Stir all ingredients together and add red pepper flakes (you can also add fresh thyme, basil, or fennel if you enjoy those flavors). Occasionally stir the mixture for a minute or two.
** At this point, you should be able to put your pasta into the boiling water to cook**
Pour marinara sauce into pan with mixture and combine thoroughly and let simmer for several minutes. Add salt, red pepper, and other favorite herbs/spices while simmering.
Drain pasta if you haven’t already, spoon sauce over pasta, and serve!